Category Archives: Writing

Road with a Clock in the Shoes

A poem by Justin Liu, Class of ’15

black blood tastes iron,
under the skin covered definition.
before I go to sleep,
don’t trust anyone.
when I walk on my feet,
who am I to pray beyond the sun?

hair grows tree that strong as grass,
strike me seasons of thunders to avoid fragile paths.
with decision that can’t bring back the dead,
with number notes that can’t relive the past.
in which shoes you choose to run?
in these socks that can touch the ground.

carry an umbrella with holes,
if an broken glass bulb still glows.
don’t let faith disappears your soul,
a grain of sand won’t slip your hope.
second ticks without the bleeding of sweat,
don’t lose your shoes till it worns with cracks.


A poem by Maria Popova, part of a Class of ’14 Senior Project

A balmy garden in its bloom,

Which scent was meant to soothe and cure,

Becalmed under secret gloom,

Fertile, sumptuous and pure,

The ocean blue – the origin of life

It gave us birth and set us free,

To love, to dance, to share, to Be on

Earth, where virtues were rife

But yet, so fragile in its gist,

Just as a lacy snowflake on a palm

The harmony was fanned within the mist,

And the world never again seemed to be calm.

Profusion gave birth to vices.

As every man desired to possess

All earthly goods at the cost of any prices,

Continue reading


A short story by Alex LaPierre, Class of ’16


She sits and waits outside of the door where she has sat and waited so many times before. She is spacing out and thinking of the past when the door opens.

“Hello Regina,” he smiles, ”Please come in.”

She stands up, grabs her purse, smiles at him and passes him roughly. In the room, she sits on the couch and says, “Hello, Phil,” as she’s looking around the office she has memorized by heart.

“How are you?” he asks, in a calm, sincere way sitting down behind his desk.

I’m doing okay for the circumstances. Can we just skip the nice part and tell me why I am here?”

“That’s good, I’m glad. I’m doing okay too. Thanks for asking Reg.”

“Phil, I just want to talk about why I am here, fix the problem, and then go home. And don’t call me Reg, we are not in high school anymore.”

“Okay, fine. Regina, I called you here today because your daughter, Rosie, has been acting strange the past few weeks.”

“What do you mean “strange?” putting up her fingers to quote the word.

“I mean, I mean, strange. You know, different than she usually acts.” He looked up from his desk and then down again. He felt weird. It actually was weird. It was only about twenty years ago that they had both been in this very room together, sitting on that same exact couch. Continue reading

Hello Africa, Tell Me How You’re Doin’

A short story and photograph by Maria Popova, Class of ’14

Traveling, moving, discovering – each bring enormous changes in one’s life. They bring immediacy, make us feel alive, show us how vast and boundless the world is. They Prove that our exclusiveness is nothing but an elusion.

Of course, every single one of us was looking forward to that trip. Having all the necessary equipment (and fair to say some stuff that is not necessary at all), we were waiting for the moment to test our flashlights in the darkness of the African night. However, before wading in these thrilling experiences awaiting us, we have to deal with the documents, customhouse, pilots and baggage.

Doesn’t that sound exciting?

Well, for me it does. For some reason I always enjoy airports and observe people there with an genuine curiosity. After years of traveling I realized that airports witnessed many more scenes of happy greetings and pangs of saying goodbye than any other place in the world. I love it. That is the reason I don’t feel uncomfortable in the world of shabby chairs, low ceilings, salesclerks with vacant looks and great number of souvenirs that usually are godsends for the people who bethought of their numerous kinfolks at the eleventh hour. Continue reading

The Ocean

A short story by Alex LaPierre, Class of ’16

There once was a moment, a tiny moment, when I believed I wasn’t myself anymore. That I was something different, something new. Something less sad and not angry. Something relaxed and calm. There once was a moment when I thought I was outside of my human self. Like my body was still physically there, but my personality, my mind, were somewhere drifting off. Somewhere nice and warm. Somewhere where my past won’t catch up to me. Or the ghosts and skeletons won’t jump out one day and say, “Boo!” from around a corner, or in a closet, or anywhere!

This moment came and then this moment went. This moment, this feeling, it came when I was looking out at the serene ocean waves. I loved how the waves would pour down onto the sand and then fade away into the sand, like they wanted to go back to their home. I loved how the wetness of the sand felt in between my toes, the softness, the warmness. Whenever I would go to the ocean I felt free. Free from everything around me. Free from me. Free from life itself. I went to the ocean everyday at the same time. It was around 6:00pm that I went. And every time I went I saw the same seagull, sitting in the same spot, in the same position. When I walked by to go closer to the water it would watch my every move, and follow me with its eyes.

Continue reading

The One-and-a-Half Year-Old Silent Girl

A monologue by Amili Targownik, Class of ’15

When I was three years old my sister was
I fell in love with her immediately.

Now I would no longer be the little one
I would be a big sister.
The best big sister
I was so proud of this

When I was four years old my sister
turned one: first she began to crawl and
then she began to walk.
And I began to hate her.

I didn’t understand.
And no one would explain it to me
I kept waiting for the answer
I don’t know how long I waited
But the answer never came
And I don’t know how I knew it wasn’t
going to

But I just knew
And so I started my revenge

I stopped talking
For one and a half years I was a silent girl

Saying this now, it seems so silly…

But up until my sister started to crawl
I believed that all babies were born like
That each baby got its own wheelchair
And would use it everyday until they
turned 18…
When we would all be given a license to

My plans for being the best big sister
were destroyed. She would never need
me to show her how to use her own little
chair. She would never need to know the
special tricks I had for getting around
with just one hand.
She would never need any of it.
She had it already

One and a half years is a very long time to
not talk at all…
So when I said that I was a silent girl for
one and a half years
This isn’t exactly the truth Continue reading

Did You Know?

An excerpt from Looking for Two Seeds of Happiness, a picture book in verse by Susan Walker, 10th grade English teacher

Miniature wings seem to disappear
When whirling about to flowers so near.

It darts at the fuchsia its beak makes a seal.
Drinking sweet nectar, this hummer is real.

Can you imagine a tiny bird made of metal?
It travels and seeks people, not petals.

When someone is trapped in a hole down below
This hummer can fit and film so others will know.

This tiny machine is a hero of sorts.
It hunts in a cave to send out reports.

It works hard to discover as it floats in the air.
Hovering and swirling to those unaware.

Protecting us in silence and love
Perhaps at this moment it is high above.

Personal Essays

Two personal essays in the style of Michel de Montaigne

Rebecca Hamilton: On Power

Thinking back throughout my childhood, I was unable to ignore, no matter how hard I tried, the four years I spent in middle school. It’s safe to say middle school universally sucks. My grade was ruthless to each other, holding contests to see who could make who cry first, or who was the crowned queen of bitch. It got me thinking to the meanest thing I ever did in middle school:

My best friend, Casey Scarano, grew up down the street from me. She and I were more of sisters than friends. Being so close, we naturally got into arguments like any siblings would. In one case, I got so mad at her that I made everyone in the grade pretend that she was a boy. And for seven days every single person in the grade used masculine pronouns and acted as if they never knew she was actually female. Unlucky for me she was equally cruel. When her threatening text messages to me were not enough to get me to tell the obvious truth to everyone, she resorted to something she knew wouldn’t fail. She took my bunny out of my backyard and held it captive until I told everyone the truth. Nonetheless, my bunny ruled and I had to tell everyone that Casey Scarano was a girl.  Continue reading

Montaigne Essays

Personal essays in the style of Michel De Montaigne by the students and teachers of Topics in Literature: Montaigne’s Personal Essays

Olivia Cohen: On Good and Evil

As a human population we would like to say that certain things are deemed universally good or evil but experience and persuasion can change this in the mind of a person. In Hamlet by William Shakespeare the main character is discussing his feelings of aversion towards Denmark and declared that “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Here the point is made that in the world there are no true good or evil things but through thought we create our own personal opinions that may not fit those of others.

Opinions also come from manipulators, those who force their ideas upon someone else. These ways of making a person lose their opinion and acquire one of another is an art. This takes an amazing mind as well as social skills but in some situations can become detrimental. For example, teenagers, including myself, experience peer pressure to do something “bad” like drinking, smoking, having sex, etcetera. A more corrupt example of this in our society is the suicide, a tragic and horrible thing to do, and is even punishable by “Hell” in some religions. Reverend James Warren “Jim” Jones, the leader of the Peoples Temple, a religious cult, convinced 909 people that it would be good to take their own lives by drinking cyanide laced Kool-Aid. By using his power of extreme manipulation and rhetoric he changed the way people thought about an evil action to a glorious and dignified way to end their lives in the name of God.

Continue reading

On My Next Year

A personal essay by James Earle, Cultural History teacher

On my next year

It seems that mathematics and culture constantly communicate with each other. During the golden age of Islam when parables had hidden meanings and divine laws were analyzed to discover the mind of an unseen God, the mathematics of algebra attempted to discover the nature of an unknown quantity. During the 17th century when European culture experienced dynamic motion (like the heliocentric model of the Universe, compounding interest, and exponentially growing number of books), the mathematics of Calculus gave humanity the tools necessary to understand these changes.

More recently, in 1968, the meteorologist Ed Lorenz entered data into a computer and arrived at a result.  When he entered the same data into the computer again, to check his results, he arrived at a drastically different result. The cause was not human error, but a minor shift in how the computer dealt with rounding the never-ending decimal places created by the data.  The small change in the initial conditions set by the data had resulted in a large change for his system. Ed Lorenz went on to write his famous paper on the Butterfly Effect in 1971, and gave our culture a better understanding of mathematical Chaos. This mathematics taught us to look beyond proximate causalities, with the knowledge that small differences in initial conditions lead to drastically different results.

Humanity was then forced to consider again what it had ignored after Poincare’s investigation of three bodied systems at the turn of the century. There can be no control over complex systems with numerous variables by some ubiquitous structure. To think our financial, political, or ecological systems can be controlled entirely by man made institutions is a foolish paternalistic trend in human intellectual history. If a butterfly’s wing could be a tipping point, then we are all extraordinarily helpless, and, paradoxically, we are all extraordinarily powerful. Continue reading